Month: August 2021

10 Meal Prepping Tips

1. Make a list of dinners for the week. They should be easy and ones that you cook often so it is not overwhelming.

2. Pick dishes with ingredients that you can prepare once and use multiple times. For example, mushrooms cooked once can be used again for scramble eggs, tofu, salads, sandwiches, veggie patties etc.

3. Invest in good quality containers. Start with whatever you have and gradually invest in changing them into glass.

4. Organise your spice cabinet. Have lots of different spices available on hand. You can gradually build that up, getting 1-2 each time you shop. Arrange them in your drawer in groups for different meal themes like Asian, Herbs, your local cuisine etc.

5. Cook in batches! Either schedule 1-2 hours at the beginning of the week, ideally after shopping, or you can do it once you cook your first dinner of the week (that is what I end up doing very often). You can use all your prepped produce to assemble quick meals like salads, soups, bowls, vegetables, tofu, scrambled eggs, omelettes and much more.

  • When you’re waiting for a pan to heat up or water to boil, chop extra veggies and either fry them lightly or bake them (almost any vegetable can be done in this way).
  • Cook more grains than you would use for one meal, for example brown rice, black rice quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc. and store them for later use.
  • Pre-fry or just chop and marinate your meats or tofu and store ready in the fridge. 
  • Cut your fresh veggies for salads and snacking like carrot, celery or cucumber sticks (it can easily last a couple of days).
  • Roast chickpeas in the oven (drain, cover with olive oil add any spices and put into the oven till lightly browned).
  • Make egg or tuna salad that you could use as a snack on top of cucumber slices for example.
  • Make sweet snacks to have on hand like chia pudding and protein balls.
  • Pre- cook broth, bone or veggie, to have it on hand when you want to assemble a quick soup with veggies, tofu, or chicken (you can use the prepped, fried, that you have already in the fridge:), pre-cooked grains or anything else.
  • Boil eggs and store them ready to use in the fridge.

6. Use a pressure cooker to make your stock, soups or curries. You just put everything together and let it cook. You do not have to attend to it much.

7. Prep your smoothies. If you are like me, a Summer smoothie lover, portion your smoothie ingredients, like vegetables and fruit and freeze them. When you need it, just take out the daily portion, add liquid and any powders or seeds (hemp protein, chia, flax seed, maca, baobab, spirulina, chlorella and anything else you like to add) blitz it, and you are ready to go.

8. Sheet pan dinner. I love this concept. Put any chopped and sectioned veggies, meat, fish, tofu combination on a tray and bake in the oven. If different ingredients need different baking time keep adding whatever requires less time later.

9. Make meal prepping fun.

  • involve family members to prep with you, smaller kids love it, not so sure about teenagers hahah
  • use this as your quiet time, focus on the action of chopping and arranging, be present with it. It will be like meditation for you if you focus just on that. Chopping can be very therapeutic, relaxing, and cleansing for the mind
  • play your favourite songs dance and sing as you chop

10. If all else fails, make sure to keep some ready meals in your freezer (if I cook too much and I know we won’t eat it the next day I just transfer it to the freezer for one of those emergency days). 

Eating healthy fats helps burn body fat

For years we were told by food industries and our doctors that fat is bad for us. We were advised to avoid fat as it could block our arteries and lead to heart attacks in the long term. So, that’s what we did. We avoided most fats, especially saturated fat, like butter. Instead, we were using vegetable oils that were supposed to be healthier for our heart health. Were they?

After many years of research, studies, as well as observing our society’s lack of health improvement, finally it is agreed that it wasn’t such a good advice after all. 

So, what should we do now?

First, let us look into what fat is. It is a main building block of our body. 15-30% of our bodies are made up of fat. Each of our 10 trillion cells needs fat to function. Our brain is built of about 60% of fat. Our brain cells need DHA fatty acids to communicate between each other. So, it’s very important to supply the body with healthy fats which improve our memory, learning abilities and overall happiness. 

But, not all fats are equal. 

The simplest division is into inflammatory and anti-inflammatory fats. As you probably know, inflammation in the body is a breeding ground for diseases, like diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia or cancer. We definitely should know which fats are anti-inflammatory hence, good for us.

We have all kinds of fats: saturated fats, unsaturated fats- monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans fats.

We will not take much time to talk about trans fats. There is no doubt that they are bad for you and you should avoid them at all costs. These are artificial fats, made by hydrogenation (hardening process) that gives them a very long shelf life. An example would be margarine.

Other fats that are not good for us are inflammatory vegetable oils. They are still very popular and are often used for frying like canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean oil. These fats oxidise very easily. 

What is the biggest problem with fats these days?

Our body needs to be supplied regularly with two main fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6. They also need to balance each other with a specific ratio. In the olden days, people’s diet supplied them with an equal ratio of omega 3 and omega 6. They were getting their omega 3 from wild game, fish and wild plants and their omega 6 from some seeds and nuts.

These days, this ratio is totally thrown out of balance. 

Omega 3 intake drastically went down. We do not eat so many wild animals, fish and plants anymore. Industrially grown meat has almost no omega 3. Instead, we increased our omega 6 intake by consuming excess amounts of vegetable oils and processed products which are made using them.

Our bodies are affected by inflammation and therefore, prone to diseases.

We need much more omega 3 in our diet (lots of people have a deficiency) and much less omega 6 compared to what we consume now. 

Omitting healthy fats is bad for our health but also for our weight.

There is an entire industry of low fat products that was created around the idea that fat is not good for us. 

Those products are made by taking fat out of them (fat that is not at all bad for us and could be easily used by the body) and  balancing the taste by adding carbohydrates from sugar or starch. 

We already know from previous blogs how sugar acts in the body. Blood sugar goes up, more insulin is released (leading to insulin resistance in the long term), too much sugar is not needed by the body for energy, it also can’t be stored in excess, so it is converted into body fat!

Low fat products essentially make you gain more weight because they have added sugar that triggers the process of

storing excess sugar as body fat. 

Our body needs good fat to function. Our cell walls, which are made out of good quality fats, metabolise insulin much better, which means that the balancing of blood sugar is more efficient. And, that also means that we don’t store as much sugar as body fat.

Body fat comes from sugar, not from fat. 

We need healthy fats to burn body fat. 

We also need it to prevent many diseases, improve our mood, our skin, our nails and our hair.  Anti-inflammatory fat will make you feel full longer, cutting hunger. 

When we try to restrict calories (also from good fats), our body goes into starvation mode, meaning that the metabolism slows down. This is an ancient mechanism built into our body. It was supposed to protect us from dying from starvation when there was no food. It still works the same way. If we restrict the calories and stop eating enough, the body will not lose any weight.  Our willpower will not help us for a very long time, as it can’t win over our body’s biology.

Instead of restricting ourselves and watching how much we eat, we should look at what we eat. The quality of food is important as well as the composition of our meals : fibre, healthy fat and protein. 

Which fats are anti-inflammatory?

The list is long: avocado, seeds: flax seed, chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, nuts: walnuts, cashews, macadamia, Brazil nut, sea vegetables, extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, small fatty fish:  mackerel, sardines, or wild salmon, grass fed or sustainably raised animal products, extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil or butter. 

There are a lot of sources of really good fats for us. We should’t be scared of good, anti-inflammatory fats. Then, we don’t have to worry about weight loss. The body will adjust it all for us.

Don’t count calories if you want to lose weight

There is a lot of misconception around calorie counting. 

It is actually an outdated method that has been scientifically disproven.

It doesn’t really work, especially when hoping to achieve sustainable and healthy weight loss. 

However, it is still being used by a lot of industries who try to push the concept onto us. Let’s see why it doesn’t work.

Calories are not equal. 

Foods with the same amount of calories can be processed by our body completely differently, resulting in very different biological effects. This is due to completely different ratios of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat), as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). 

It’s very important to know, especially when we’re trying to lose weight.

To show you what I mean, I will use my usual example of an avocado (average size) versus a donut (basic donut).

They roughly have the same amount of calories – around 300.

Avocado300 calories, around 30 g of fat, 17 g carbs (mostly fiber, almost no sugar), 4 g of protein, potassium, magnesium, Vit C, Vit E, Vit K, smaller amounts of Vit B5, B6.

Donut300 calories, around 15 g of fat (different fat though), 30 g of carbs (mainly in a form of sugar) and 3 g of protein.

Now, on to the digestive process.

Let’s first look into the donut.

As you can see above, it has lots of sugar and fat, most probably refined fat, which isn’t going to serve our body very much, but we will talk about fats another time.

Let’s focus on the sugar part because that’s what the donut is mostly composed of (simple carbs – you can find more on that in my blog about carbohydrates). When we put simple carbs into our body, it gets absorbed quickly by the intestines and travels straight into our bloodstream. It spikes our blood sugar and then of course, soon after, it causes sugar/energy crash. 

Additionally, with such a high blood sugar levels, insulin rises to counter balance the sugar levels (it helps the glucose, in the sugar, enter the cells for energy use). But, if there is a lot of sugar at once in your bloodstream, a lot of insulin needs to be released. Insulin is often called a fat hormone. Constant high spikes of insulin results in belly fat, body inflammation, high blood pressure and even, in some cases, infertility in women. 

So much sugar at once increases your appetite. High levels of insulin tend to block the “feeling full” hormone, called leptin. Essentially, this means that we don’t actually feel full but instead, we continue to feel hungry and further crave sugar(referring here not only to pure sugar but any form of carb that consists of sugar). This is because your pleasure based reward centre is triggered, leading to an increase in your sugar addiction. 

Sugar consists of glucose and fructose. What we described above shows how glucose is processed by the body. Fructose is processed a little bit differently by the liver. Whatever excess that can’t be stored in the liver is stored as fat. That fat causes even bigger rises of insulin levels, that long term result in insulin resistance. If you get to that stage, whatever you eat will be turned mostly into belly fat. 

Now, let’s look at what happens when you eat an avocado. 

Also being around 300 calories, there is almost no sugar so, that whole process that I’ve just described above is not going to be triggered in this case. It will have no effect on your blood sugar levels and it has a low glycemic index, essentially meaning that it can be safely eaten even by people who have diabetes. 

Then, there is quite a lot of fat in avocado. 

I hear from clients, especially in my weight loss program, “Oh, you know, I can’t possibly eat an avocado, it has so much fat and I am trying to lose weight.” 

I agree, it does have a lot of fat, but it is good fat. Monounsaturated fatty acid. It can be used by the body. Every cell needs good fat to function, your brain needs good fat to perform properly, your whole system needs good fat to lose body fat! This kind of fat will help you prevent cardiovascular diseases, lower your bad cholesterol LDL and increase your HDL – good cholesterol. It also helps reduce overall inflammation in the body and supports cancer prevention. 

Avocado has a lot of carbohydrates found in the form of fibre. We need fibre. It makes us feel full for longer, its very important for our regular bowel movement, and it will help control blood sugar spikes, which is crucial if you are trying to lose weight or improve your metabolism. Avocado also has vitamins and minerals, for example, potassium that helps lowering the blood pressure. 

So, as you can see, 2 different types of food with exactly the same amount of calories have a totally different way of being processed by the body and have very different effects on the organism as a whole.

The avocado will be completely used by the body to function effectively, whereas the donut will mostly cause a lot of havoc in your body and will be stored as fat. 

I am not saying that you shouldn’t eat a donut. Please do, but be aware of the process and how you feel after. It is all about your choice.

I love what one of my teachers at the nutrition school said:” Food is not calories. It is coded information for our cells telling it what to do. It is information that our metabolism can use to either run efficiently or sluggishly.” -Dr. Mark Hyman

It’s not the calories, it’s the type and the quality of food that is important. 

The calorie counting approach does not take into account digestion, metabolism, absorption, hormone balance, or storage. 

We can actually be overfed, but still be undernourished. 

Lacking nutrients in the body. 

The quality of food we eat influences our metabolism, the rate at which we burn fat, your mood, your sleep, your energy, your mental clarity, and your longevity. That is why it is very important to look at it from that perspective rather than just as a calorie count.

Another aspect is that whole, real foods take longer to be processed by the body and will use more energy to do so, while processed foods don’t require the body to work as much, thus not using much energy and further contributing to the storage of fat.

Nourishing the body and not restricting is the way to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

How to maintain a holiday balance?

I just came back from my short, but sweet holidays. 

I thought I would share a few thoughts with you on how to keep the balance when you are on holidays.  This topic comes up, especially now, really often in my conversations with friends, as well as with my coaching clients. 

It is summertime, a lot of us are travelling and wondering how to enjoy the holidays without compromising our healthy habits and ideal weight.

First of all, we know that holiday is a completely different time and we need to allow ourselves to loosen up a little bit. At the end we are there to enjoy, relax, recharge and not to be strict with ourselves. 

On the other hand our routine changes quite dramatically on holidays and a lot of our healthy habits, that serve us well on daily basis, are hard to keep up with. The routine changes, the way of eating changes. 

That leaves us sometimes feeling a little bit nervous and even guilty. And that is not what we want while we are trying to relax. 

We also might experience some physical symptoms like heaviness, bloating, some pains in the stomach and a general feeling of sluggishness. 

Even if we can handle it then, we know we’ll have to deal with it after we get back and that also can give us a little bit of an unpleasant feeling.

So what can we do to keep that balance between throwing all of our healthy habits out of the window and really enjoying ourselves and having fun?

Let me share a few tips I have used on my holidays just recently.

Tip # 1


Very often when on holidays, we forget about eating balanced  meals. 

We need to supply our body with fibre, protein and healthy fat in each meal, even on holidays :). 

I know it might be a little bit more challenging when travelling, but at least give it your best. Try to eat your vegetables. Think about it in an exciting way. Maybe there are different vegetables where you travelled to in season now. Or even the same ones tasting slightly differently than at home.

Every time I travel to Greece I enjoy their super tasty and sweet tomatoes and onions, not to mention the fruits. 

They for sure taste differently than at home.

Vegetables have a lot of fibre.

We do need that fibre for regular bowel movements, for example. Especially when we travel, some of us tend to encounter problems with that. 

Also proteins are very important to keep you full for longer and control your cravings. You will feel satisfied faster, as protein fills you up more and helps to balance your blood sugar levels. 

Do not forget your healthy fats, as well. 

Try to incorporate all of the macronutrients that the body needs to function properly, weather on holidays or not.

Tip # 2


It’s connected to the tip #1. We eat balanced meals but we also should make sure that we eat regularly. We do not want to starve ourselves the whole day on the beach just running on breakfast and skipping lunch.  By the time dinner comes we will be so hungry that eating balanced meal will not be our priority. We will be eating whatever is fast and more that we actually need, to make up.  

That can cause the feelings of guilt to emerge again. 

The other extreme we tend to do when on holidays is eat even when we are not hungry, maybe because others are eating or maybe out of boredom or for any other reasons. Make sure you eat when your stomach is actually hungry, not your head. 

Tip # 3


Again two spectrums, either we have a very intense movement routine on regular basis that is hard to keep up with on holidays, when we also have to keep in mind other people. Or we normally do not move much, so on holidays we will not be motivated either.

But in both cases a gentle moderate movement,  like a walk on the beach, a daily swim or a bike ride, will be needed but also sufficient and enjoyable.  

Tip # 4 


We are talking here about finding the holiday balance. So it also means we shouldn’t  be too strict on ourselves and feel guilty about every indulgence. It is great to have an ice cream or some wine without feeling bad about it. 

My philosophy, not only for holidays but for every day as well, is to dedicate a little space in your life for treats. We can’t possibly eat 100% healthy during our whole life. It is not sustainable. That is why leaving about 20% to treat ourselves and feel like there is no restriction really is very healthy for our head. 

I use the same rule on holidays.

And if I follow tip#1 and #2 with balanced, regular meals I do not really need so many treats. I just have them when I want to enjoy myself not when I have cravings for it. 

And totally guilt free as it is a conscious choice.

Tip # 5


Especially in the summer when it is hot we should pay more attention to our water intake. When we feel the thirst, we

are already dehydrated. So it’s important to regularly sip your water.

Having water will also help you figure out if you are hungry or thirsty.

Sometimes our mind likes to trick us into being hungry. In that case  try water first, because it might be that you are just thirsty. If you are still hungry, then you need to eat. Listen to your body. It really helps to determine what it needs right now. 

Tip # 6


This is the most important one. When on holidays we really want to enjoy ourselves, but often times our mind will not let us. 

Our physical body is on holidays but our mind is still running through some past events or concerns or complaining about things it doesn’t like where we are. We have more free time than normally and the mind is using it. 

We feel dissatisfied, but all we really want is to use that time to recharge, relax and chill. 

The best way is to just look around you, appreciate and enjoy all that you do not usually have in your daily routine, like sun, sand, water, mountains, lakes, breeze, nature, lovely local food. Inhaling the whole atmosphere around you. And just being present with each activity.  

Watch your thoughts and if they are not so nourishing remind yourself that you are on holidays. Notice the relaxing environment around you and appreciate this special time you can spend with your peeps or just with yourself.

While recently holidaying with my family I also, at times, had thoughts of what I will need to do when I come back. They were stressing me out of course but then I would immediately try to give the mind something pleasant to focus on. It would look in my head like this: “I can’t believe I’m here, sun, sand, sea. I love the sea. I miss it the whole year. And now I have it the whole day in front of me and I can jump in whenever I feel like it. I don’t have to do anything, I can just relax and do pleasant things. No work, no responsibilities. Just fun time. Finally. Let me not waste it. I need to really appreciate this time, right now.” 


I would also like to share with you my five senses practice I used.

This particular experience was while I was swimming.

I went into the water and really tried to enjoy the swim with all the five senses. I would feel the water against my skin, as I was moving.

I would smell the distinctive sea water smell. Sometimes the water would come into my nose or onto my lips and I could taste the saltiness of it. I could hear the splish splash of the water. I admired the beautiful turquoise colour with sun rays reflecting in it. 

It was such a full rounded experience. It really helped me remember the “now”.  Even when I am writing about it I do vividly remember that moment. It is like a mental 5 senses picture. 

I really recommend trying that with any activity. 

It helps us stay in the moment, appreciate things more and hold gratitude in our hearts for our experiences.  

Then we really recharge and enjoy.